Acres of Space
The stunning school grounds are set in the heart of hundreds of acres of parkland, away from roads, set amongst beautiful countryside, and enclosed within Rushmore Park in the Cranborne Chase.
The school owns outright Rushmore House and the surrounding 70 acres. The grounds consist of: playing fields; formal walled gardens; courtyard gardens; formal lawns; grassland paddocks; tennis courts; a floodlit astroturf; an equestrian cross country course; numerous playgrounds; a menage; natural deciduous woodland and of course the Elephant’s Foot…
At the heart of the grounds is a walled garden, enclosing nearly three acres and a Temple erected in 1890, to commemorate the birth of the General’s first grandson. The architectural forms in the garden are complemented by huge trees dating from the same period. These include the Sequoia and the majestic Cedar of Lebanon. The trees form breathtaking vistas and feature points that tie the natural geographical formations to the hard and soft landscaping.
The Walled Garden was once a working garden, and in the place of the current Pre-Prep school was an iron-framed greenhouse with heated floors. This would have produced fruit and produce for the house. In the main walled garden today there are large herbaceous borders which major in the spring and summer. The pond, once the school’s swimming pool, is now a beautiful habitat for dragonflies and amphibians.
As well as the formal grounds the environment supports distinct habitats. Specific conservation zones in the school grounds include chalk grassland (which favours butterflies and insects and has been enhanced with wildflower mixtures favouring pollinators), wetland (for the amphibians), tree canopy and understory (favouring predominantly the invertebrates and small mammals). All of the gardening activities necessary around the school grounds are undertaken with these habitats’ ecology in mind.
The space our grounds and setting provide us are a significant part of the school's culture. They allow a sense of exploration, to climb trees, to cycle or ride away from national roads and for an understanding of the local environment.